Guest blogging is one of the most-buzzed about content strategies in the past few years, and even though it still holds weight and has benefit, it’s likely been affected by Penguin 2.0. Because one of the main benefits of guest blogging for many writers is to get a link to their company website, Google’s is cracking down on content that seems disingenuous or of lower quality, and thus will receive lower linking credibility.
Even though incoming links from other credible websites is always a good thing, it’s time to shift the strategy when it comes to guest blogging. There are few changes that must be made in order to make your guest posts continue to pay off.
Focus on the Content, Not the Links
Many have speculated that Google will begin to recognize content that doesn’t hold significant value or exists solely as an excuse to insert links. The Penguin 2.0 update included an emphasis on advertorials, which is content crafted around unreliable or unrelated links that is only posted in exchange for money.
This means that guest bloggers really need to start stepping up their game. Every piece of guest content needs to be written as if it was a part of your graduate thesis or the featured piece of your own website. Neil Patel of QuickSpout speculates that Google will begin to recognize mentions of a company or its website on other sites, even if that site isn’t directly linking to them. This is known as a citation, and is currently thought to play a major role in helping Google understand the buzz or importance of a particular brand.
Instead of only accepting guest post opportunities because of the potential links they may generate, he suggests not always linking to your own website in all pieces of your external content. Focusing on the exposure and credibility that regular guest posts can provide can be enough of a benefit to what your company is really looking for: more customers.
If more customers is the real goal, and more potential customers are seeing your content (even if it doesn’t link to your website), wouldn’t that also increase your chances of more potential customer contacts? By focusing on great content that provides credibility, you are extending your reach, which will give you more opportunities to grow your business.
Link Placement and Anchor Text
Link placement and anchor text within content is another potential area of concern for guest bloggers in a post-Penguin 2.0 world. Solitary links in the author bio section of a guest blog post that use bloated keyword anchor text will continue to be de-valued, especially when the anchor text don’t directly relate to the guest post itself or the rest of the content on the site.
While some guest bloggers will take this to mean that they need to start fitting in all their links inside their submitted guest content, this definitely isn’t the case. With Penguin 2.0, Google is trying to prevent attempts to outsmart their algorithm by fitting in more links to influence rankings. Instead of focusing on self-serving links in your author bio or elsewhere in your content, it’s time to focus on content quality. For those who aren’t willing to so, Google will continue to de-value their content in search engine results.
Claiming Your Work
Guest blogging has becoming a booming business for white hat and black hat marketers alike. However, there’s a key difference between white hat guest blogging and black hat guest blogging techniques– claiming content as the author’s own. This is part of Google’s push on Google Authorship through Google+. By listing places you contribute to and providing you with link sharing opportunities through Google+ posts, Google is urging you to claim your own work.
Writers who go through the process of setting up authorship are much more likely to be real people, as opposed to spammy software programs that mindlessly distribute content to as many publishers as possible and then see what sticks. Providing a genuine author for all published work will continue to become more crucial when it comes to how Google weighs the integrity of content.
Promoting Your Work
Another piece of the puzzle when it comes to promoting genuine guest blogging content is social media. It’s important to build up a genuine social media network of real people, especially because it’s easier than ever to buy Twitter Followers or Facebook Likes.
Penguin 2.0 has initiated the movement toward further valuation of a user’s individual social network and what they share online. As Search Engine Journal postulates, a smaller number of real followers will always outweigh ten times as many fake or bot followers.
Guest bloggers should always promote all their external posts via all their available social media networks. This further shows proof to Google that you were the creator of the post and it is content you’re standing behind. An online user’s social network is one of their most important assets, so it’s safe to assume that genuine users will share genuine content.
SEOs and bloggers alike will continue to speculate how the Penguin 2.0 update will affect them in the coming weeks. However, it’s safe to say that Google continues to stand by the fact that informative and unique content will continue to rise to the top, getting more exposure and better rankings. Key signals like authorship, better linking practices, and social media can help your guest posts continue to give you increased online exposure and visibility.
Want more information on content marketing? Head over to our comprehensive guide on content marketing here: The All-in-One Guide to Planning and Launching a Content Marketing Strategy.